The Start of Something Big
During the years the brothers were separated Frasier underwent a sea change of his own. After his education at Harvard and Oxford and a brief marriage to a children's entertainer he settled down to a psychiatric practice in Boston. There he suffered through an intense and doomed love affair with barmaid Diane Chambers. He married and painfully divorced fellow psychiatrist Lilith Sternin and suffered the terrible pain of parting with his son Frederick, whom he loved with a depth he had never thought possible. And for the first time in his life he also formed strong and loyal bonds of friendship with other men at the bar where he spent his free time. Frasier began to acquire an appreciation for the kinds of emotional bonds that were possible between friends who truly cared for one another, and he brought this new knowledge back home with him.
Almost immediately after Frasier's arrival it became obvious that Martin was in no condition to live alone. The gunshot wound to his hip that had forced his early retirement now made his balance precarious. After several falls of increasing severity Niles prevailed on Frasier to move their father in with him. Niles was convinced he had scored a coup in getting Martin the care he needed while contributing little except money to the plan. A physical therapist was quickly found and Martin convinced Frasier that she should live with them as well. This imposition on Frasier's plans for life as a swinging bachelor caused Niles no end of amusement. He never guessed that he would be the new arrangement's main beneficiary.
Frasier's return was like a large boulder dropped into the still pond of Niles's mundane life. Rather than accept their father's emotional distance as he and Niles had always done, Frasier now began an active campaign to bring them all closer together. After an absence of years Niles was once again seeing his brother daily. The two conspired to introduce their father to the finer things in life, to care for his health over his protests, and to lift him out of the depression caused by his disability, and along the way they rediscovered the childhood bond they had thought long gone. They shopped together, they dined together, they held long discussions at their favorite cafe, they sought one another's advice on food and wine and women. Suddenly Niles had a family again, and his marriage slowly began to disintegrate.
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